Account Planning 101...is 2-5-1.
Updated: Apr 20, 2019
Happy New Year, 2018 is over and you crushed your number. You closed everything in your pipeline took a vacation and just wrapped up Sales Kick Off. You are also waiting for your accounts, quota and comp plan. The feeling of being at "0" again on a quota that is surely pointing north starts to cause you anxiety. Relax, sales is what you do. Quota's go up, accounts will move and your comp plan will always be a mystery. Every year I attend SKO and I get overwhelmed. We begin QBRs followed by account planning. We come up with the science and math of how we plan to exceed our monthly, quarterly and yearly goals. The key to any successful year in sales is to eliminate distractions. When you map out your day you should always be asking yourself this question. "Is what I'm doing right now useful and will it have a short term or long term impact on pipeline or ACV". I experience the most distraction in my job of selling in Q1. You get inundated with internal meetings, sales training, HR training, security training and new product training. Let's not forget role transitions of new SEs, BDRs, the occasional leadership changes, philosophy changes and new product enhancements. If you want a fast start you need to focus on what's important to your job description. The account planning formula I came up with is 2-5-1. If you are in SMB, Mid Market or a Commercial Accounts AE you may want to adjust this to a daily routine vs weekly. The example I'm going to use is for an Enterprise AE. So what is this formula you ask?
Pick 2 accounts every week you plan to research. Focus on external factors, Executive management changes, earnings and recent industry wins you can leverage. Use your CRM, explore close loss/close win opportunities. Research industry trends. A good way to do this is look for infographics on google. For example, if you are selling to a home builder search millennial's buying homes infographic. Example here https://www.visualcapitalist.com/millennials-changing-housing-market/ You will learn external factors facing an industry and a talk track that just might have you sounding like a topic expert.
Target 5 Contacts in each of the 2 accounts you choose every week. Find out what they like to do professionally and personally. Find out if they have posted their mission statement anywhere. Look for quotes and interviews they have done. For Example, pick the CEO's name and google it with the word interview. This is so easy to do. I promise you most of your selling peers are not doing this simple tactic. Find out if they have non profit affiliations. GO meet them! What are their priorities for the year as it relates to people, process and technology. How are they compensated? Another great tip...if it's a public company is to search for their proxy statement under Executive compensation. Once you understand how your prospect gets paid you can understand what motivates them. Research who has sold to them in the past 12-months. Many times a CIO will be mentioned in a press release announcing why they chose a piece of technology or why they hired someone to join their team. Use your CRM , your network and find new contacts. Find 10 new contacts a week.
Move the needle on 1 opportunity every week. The 1 in 2,5,1 is all about activity. What activity will move the needle in 1 opportunity every week. The goal is to find 1 new opportunity, increase an opportunity amount or move an existing opportunity to another stage. The whole reason you pick 2 accounts and research 5 contacts in each account is to generate opportunities that eventually generate ACV.
At the end of the month. You should have 8 well researched accounts, 40 contacts you have built a relationship with and 4 new opportunities in your pipeline that are qualified. If done right you will begin moving deals through the funnel.
That's it. You may be asked to do extensive account plans (Which is important) however the key to this formula is to not over think the activity part. If you just remember every week...I need to to focus on 2-5-1 this formula should help you filter the noise and relieve the anxiety of being at "0" again.
5 Contacts per account
At month end you will have (8 accounts + 40 contacts + 4 opportunities = 52. There are 52 weeks in a year...do it every week.
Good Luck and Happy selling!
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